AFRICA’S richest man Alhaji Aliko Dangote has teamed up with Germany’s Association for Mechanical and Plant Engineering to launch a technical training programme for Nigerian youths aimed at addressing the skill deficit in parts of the economy.
Under an ambitious programme aimed at providing skilled expertise in key areas of the economy, the Aliko Dangote Foundation has entered into a partnership with Germany’s German Association for Mechanical and Plant Engineering VDMA and its Foundation for Young Talent in Mechanical Engineering (NWS). They have launched a first-of-its-kind technical training programme in Nigeria.
Alhaji Dangote said that the landmark programme involves a €7m investment package, a large percentage of which is for the specialised, leading-edge equipment. This machinery has been shipped from Germany and installed in five workshops purpose-built for the programme at the Dangote Academy in Obajana.
According to Alhaji Dangote, the beneficiaries will be trained using these machines, so they can learn practical skills that will be transferable as they enter the work force. He added that the programme will be replicated across all the six geo-political zones of the country.
Noting that vocational and technical skills are vital to the well-being of any economy, as key levers for growth, specifically in the manufacturing sector, Alhaji Dangote said significant skills gaps exist in Nigeria. He added that this programme is seeking to address such problems.
Alhaji Dangote said: “The trainees that successfully pass through the full vocational training will be prepared as well-rounded professionals. In addition to the technical training, they will also get personal effectiveness trainings of same quality as our staff”
Germany’s minister for economic cooperation and development, Dr Gerd Muller, lauded the Aliko Dangote Foundation and VDMA for the programme that he said can transform and develop the economy of Nigeria. He said his ministry had supported the initiative with €3.6m and would not hesitate to do more for the purpose of the initiatives to be achieved.
VDMA president, Dr Reinhold Fostge, added: “I am very happy that this has become reality eventually in Nigeria. We started six years ago and four years ago, we signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a Nigerian German training project.
“This programme is to raise the skill level of workers and make the youth employable. Our vision in VDMA is that, in future, we should be able to exchange highly skilled professionals between Nigeria and Germany and I have no objection to inviting Nigerian specialists to help me in Germany and vice versa.”
Governor Babajide Sanwoolu of Lagos State enjoined both the Aliko Dangote Foundation and VDMA to consider citing the second training workshop in Lagos, with a promise to make funds available for the take-off this laudable programme. He added that already, Lagos State has six well-maintained vocational training schools.